Off the Rails

Two facts prove the Cleveland Amtrak station is hard to find. 1) Google Maps lands you north of the station, across I-90 and closer to Browns Stadium than Choo Choo Charlie. Back on the highway for another try. 2) Former train travelers post cautionary communiques on the web for future followers. Yea, it's that complicated.

So close to E. 9th & the Shoreway, so buried among City parking lots, South Marginal Road potholes and desolate RTA stops that getting inside the rusty fence and parking makes you feel as happy as reruns of Petticoat Junction.

Eastbound Lakeshore Limited, 5:55 a.m. departure, Boston's South Station a mere 15 hours away.

The station is a 70's prayer to a sterile deity, updated in the 90's to barely avoid descending into "I swear never again." No pizzaz, no adventure-vibe, minimum decoration...just a guy with a comb-over lording over two arrivals and two departures daily. High cost airfare lands you here so suck it up honey, we're making a memory.

Fifteen self-service lockers hide behind two dusty ficus, three slightly dirty vending machines stand vigil by the kinda clean johns. Tropicana Lemonade, off-brand snacks and a coffee machine that provides a cup for "desperate guy fleeing a busted marriage" to stare forlornly over while ruminating and waiting to get out of town. Then there's the nod to Homeland Security with the sign "If you see something, say something. Hopefully it's nothing."

What I see is an American elegy to a 19th century dream, what I say is o.k. this is doable and won't be too bad and what I know is that at $330 for two adults and a kid, total, I'll probably do it again. All Aboard.

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